Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder

CSTPR Noontime Seminar

Collaborating for System Change: Learning Networks for City Resilience, Wildfire Protection, Climate Adaptation, and Impactful Science

Bruce Evan Goldstein, University of Colorado Boulder
Claire Chase, University of Colorado Boulder
Lee Frankel-Goldwater, University of Colorado Boulder
Jeremiah Osborne-Gowey, University of Colorado Boulder
Julie Risien, Oregon State University
Sarah Schweizer, University of Colorado Boulder

We consider how learning networks build capacity for system transformation. We define learning networks as inter-organizational voluntary collaboratives that nurture professional expertise, and describe their potential to catalyze systemic change by disrupting old habits, fostering new relationships, and providing freedom to experiment. We underscore the complexity of designing, facilitating, and sustaining learning networks, noting four distinct ways learning networks can foster systemic resilience, 1) social-psychological 2) engineering 3) social-ecological, and 4) emancipatory. We then describe our research methods and introduce four learning network case study analyses, in order of their age and relative progress towards transformation:
•    National Alliance for Broader Impacts (NABI)
•    100 Resilient Cities Network (100RC)
•    Fire Adapted Community Learning Network (FACNet)
•    START (Global Change SysTem for Analysis, Research & Training)

After describing each network’s origins, approach to promoting transformative change, and structure, we apply three exploratory questions across our cases:
•    How do network facilitators “netweave” within and across participating sites?
•    Is there evidence of organizational learning taking place in each network over time?
•    What transformative capacity do we see developing in each network?

We conclude by describing the contribution of this analysis to a framework we are developing to explore how learning networks foster resilience within, between, and across scales.


Wednesday, September 7, 2016
2016 - 12:00 to 13:00





  • CIRES employees
  • CU Boulder employees
  • General Public
  • NOAA employees
  • Science collaborators


  • Seminar
  • Open to Public



CSTPR Conference Room, 1333 Grandview Avenue